Hope, Gratitude and Love

J. K. Rowling did it, and so can you. The three character strengths you need to be happy.

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As I discussed in a previous Cloud Nine article, love is a powerful way to experience joy and emotional healing. The ability to express love toward others depends on feeling unconditional love toward yourself. If you develop this strength, you may find that unfortunate circumstances and negative emotions have far less of a painful impact.

MORE: How Love is a Beauty Treatment

How to use this strength: Loving kindness meditation is a technique that will help you practice loving yourself and others. One 9-week experiment found that, relative to a wait-list control group, practicing loving kindness meditation caused experiences of positive emotions, which in turn produced greater happiness. To try this meditation, find a quiet place, sit comfortably and silently repeat the following phrases to yourself for about 5 minutes:

  1. May I be happy and peaceful.
  2. May I be free from fear or pain.
  3. May I live with love and compassion.
  4. May I fully awaken and be free.

Next, direct these same phrases toward a loved one for an additional 5 minutes. Finally, try addressing an acquaintance that you don’t know very well. If you are willing, you can also use these phrases to cultivate love for strangers and even all living beings! The power of the love you experience during this practice may surprise you.

Some of these strengths may seem natural and easy to do. If this is the case, choose the strengths that work best for you and use them to pursue happiness. You may also find it worthwhile to practice using strengths that don’t come to you as naturally. Either way, using these strengths will help bridge the gap between your daily habits and happiness.

If you diligently practice these scientifically tested techniques, you may discover other abilities that will serve you well on your life journey.

Enjoy uncovering them!


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